Schinus spp.

Requests about identification of wild plants in Malta and Gozo. (Please include precise details and pictures to help the experts in their ID process)

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Schinus spp.

Post by MWP admin » Sun Nov 05, 2006 7:57 pm

Is this tree (cultivated in a traffic island) Schinus?/ If so what species mollis or terebinthifoloius?? Dont think it is Pist.lent.

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Post by Sdravko » Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:11 pm

i would opt for terebinthifolius.
taste ripe fruit. if sweet and aromatic > Schinus, if you get poisoned > Pistacia. :D :D :D
actually im sure its terebinthifolius. would you risk your life based on my oppinion? :wink:

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Post by MWP admin » Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:18 pm

Is the ID based on the poison afair!! I dont think so poor early botanists!

I already was quite sure that it is not Pistaccia (needed confirmation though) and was confused between S. terebinthifolius and s. mollis after reading weber. After your post I am 99% confident about the former species :wink:
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Post by Sdravko » Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:50 am

no way to confuse it with molle (hanging leaves with small, narrow leaflets, long, hanging inflorescenses, quite rare in Malta)

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Post by jackpot » Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:44 pm

MWP- why confused?
Pistacia lentiscus has the "victory"-leaflets at the tip,
P. terebinthus a single leaflet at the tip which has about the same size as the other ones,
Schinus terebinthifolius has a single leaflet at the tip which is in size much more larger as the other ones, and
S. molle has about the double number of leaflets as all the other ones. In addition, leaflets of Pistacia terebinthus are smaller than those of Schinus terebinthifolius.
Your pic is Pistacia terebinthus- have a look in fall to confirm this with the red galls!

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Post by RB » Mon Nov 06, 2006 5:20 pm

Agree with you Jack, plus the fact that it is very widely planted at roadsides all over Malta is another factor even without any photo.

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Post by MWP admin » Mon Nov 06, 2006 6:23 pm

Thanks for the detailed descriptions JP

Note to Sdravko: you see, it is important to have second opinions - it is not a question of mistrust - trust me :wink: Of course thank you for your input :thumbleft:
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Post by Sdravko » Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:22 am

sorry guys but you are all wrong. :D
mwp, you should have trusted me and eaten some of the nice, spicy, sweet and slightly hot fruits although i remember a person who could not believe there is Schinus in Malta even after i made him eat the fruit. :twisted: If you are afraid to try them i will sacrifice myself when i return to Malta.i am collecting Schinus fruit regularly as a spice in Malta and elsewhere and i never got poisoned. actually it is one of my favorite souvenirs (its free and you are destroying an invasive) and my friends back in germany can never get enough of it (they are still alive)
the vegetative characteristics (leaves) are often misleading in Schinus and Pistacia. In shadowy situations S. terebinthifolius might develop the large terminal leaflet which is actually a characteristic of P. vera. In sunny places the leaflets will be smaller and more elongated just like in your picture. :P
by the way Schinus fruits are round. pistacia terebinthus fruits are elongated.
The galls in Pistacia atlantica which jackpot has in mind are visible throughout most of the year, the galls in Pistacia terebinthus even throughout the whole year, but both plants are deciduous. so if you took the picture recently you must have traveled to Australia to get such nice green leaves. :lol: :lol: :lol:
maybe you check out San Anton where both sp grow together. i think there might even be labels. :twisted: :lol: :D :wink: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

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Post by MWP admin » Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:13 pm

You are going to 1) make me go again at Mgarr to check the tree and 2) regret that I fell in love with botany!

So if the ripe red fruit are spicy/aromatic = Schinus, while if they are sour/spittable, then = Pistaccia right? (MWP admini = :puke: )


It is not clear, are you coming in Malta, have you found something profitable?
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Post by Sdravko » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:34 pm

no need to check the plant, im sure.
if you dont want to :puke: which you will not since Schinus terebintifolius is an established spice on the world market, you can squeeze the fruit and roll it between your fingers. if ripe the outer crisp skin will fall off revealing a hard, aromatic, pepper like smelling inner part.
in pistacia you would have ended up either with a lot of pungent pulp or with a hard dry fruit with inseparable skin depending on the degree of ripeness.

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Post by MWP admin » Wed Nov 08, 2006 6:17 pm

Thanks for the info. What about the Malta thing?
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Post by Sdravko » Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:17 pm

nothing

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Post by jackpot » Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:39 am

RB: yes, you are right, sometimes together with other members of the Terebinths (atlantica, palaestina)- nothing to do with vera, which I saw only for 1 time in Malta, as well as chinensis. Difficult group because everyone of them varies, and just from a pic no one can give a 100% right answer.

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Post by MWP admin » Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:24 pm

Thanks for all members who contributed to this post - I decided not to give it much importance since it is neither indigenous nor common in the wild, and there are hundreds of other important indigenous species that I have to work upon.

From this topic I am pleased to learn that not all 1ry pinnate-leaved, multiple small red-berries cluster trees are Pistaccia, there is the look-alike called Schinus .


Also this is a discussion FRIENDLY forum not an 'exam' :-) so nobody should feel afraid express an opinion or what he thinks the species is and nobody should feel mistrusted, if a St.Thomas like myself takes time / shows doubt about some ID that experts like Jackpot or Sdravko (even Edwin Lanfranco!) give. I know it is a negative part of my character!
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Post by Sdravko » Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:16 pm

it might not be native or not one of the most common plants on that island, yet but its definitely one of the most invasive ones. i think there was even a law in Malta and in several other places in the world, where planting it is illegal. unfortunately now that you are an EU member the law has to be revoked. no discrimination against anybody, not even invasives, in the EU.

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Post by Sdravko » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:58 pm

mwp, i decided that after we all contributed so much to that post you should do us (or at least me) the favor ang go to Mgarr for a possible stomachache. i am expecting you oppinion what it tastes like.
by the way, how did the talk about selling the mwp webside to MEPA go? are you content with the agreement?

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Post by MWP admin » Sat Nov 11, 2006 10:41 pm

before accepting that (If I ever will), I would like to see what they say about sponsoring instead. I listed several of advantages to Mepa with the sponsor method. The bosses seem too busy and I still dont have a reply about this option yet. I think same applies to you right?

If I pass by Mgarr, I will stop and have a taste and report the description here!
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Post by IL-PINE » Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:38 pm

I still have not understood what the plant species is! :shock:

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Post by MWP admin » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:00 am

Depends on taste of fruit (and victims!). :lol:
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Post by Sdravko » Sun Nov 12, 2006 9:28 am

bring some fruit for pine so if you dont like the spice we have a second opponion. :wink: it tastes like black pepper but without the "hot" sensation.
if i by any chance should be wrong you are not gonna get rid of the turpentine taste for hours! :D

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Post by MWP admin » Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:22 pm

I found another specimen of what likely is Pistacia / Schinus tree with bunch of red berries. It had no terminal leaflet so I went to taste, and at first it was aromatic - peppery taste but then it turned to a horrible spitable taste.

So was it Pistaccia spp. then?

JP said that P. ter. have a terminal leaflet but this insteadhad a V-shaped terminal pair (as seen in the pics)

The flowers where small, actinomorphic, white/cream with yellow centre.

PS: Found as a cultivated tree.
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Post by RB » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:01 pm

You'll find that one in Blamey's book, don't remember Weber's (these dont interest me much) it's quite a common thing (non native) but the name escapes me at the moment.

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Post by robcar » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:34 pm

It must be Schinus molle - not Pistacia

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Post by MWP admin » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:22 pm

I agree with you Robcar, I researched here and there and it is Schinus molle, though I have a feeling that Sdravko or JP would come with something different!..... Naahh - should be Schinus molle :P

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Post by Sdravko » Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:11 pm

definitely schinus molle, the only member of the bunch which can not be confused with any other one. dont understand your taste experiences, s molle is a popular spice (called brazilian pepper or red pepper, not red hot chili peppers)

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Conclusion....

Post by MWP admin » Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:53 pm

To conclude this topic on an educational ending, here is a pic of both Pistacia terebinthus and Schinus terebinthifolius.

This confirms both Jackpot descriptions of these Anacardiaceae species , and Sdravko former ID. The initial pics I posted had many leaves in each other so it might confused anyone.

I composed a dichotomousare keys of the 4 species we mentioned using foliar morphology only:

1a: Pinnate compound leaves have a terminal leaflet .... 2
1b: Pinnate compound leaves do not have a terminal leaflet, a pair of leaves are found at the tip........ 3

2a: Terminal leaflet same size of the other leaflets below.... Pistacia terebinthus
2b: Terminal leaflet distinguishly larger than the leaflets below .... Schinus terebinthifolius

3a: Pinnate leaves hanging down, leaflet pairs plenty and narrow..... Schinus molle
3b: Pinnate leaves not hanging down, pairs not more than 3-6 ..... Pistacia lentiscus


Next time I add Pistaccia vera when I examine it in buskett.


TASTING

I tasted the latter as Sdravko suggested and it was rather good, a mixture of pepper and sugar and anise (4:3:1) :lol:


Taste comparison:

P. lentiscus = very sour and foul
P. terebinthus = very sour/bitter

S. molle = peppery/aromatic followed by a sour taste
S. terebinthifolius = sweet peppery with hint of aromatic taste.
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Post by jackpot » Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:45 am

have never seen Pistacia vera in Malta, the group I thought in Buskett was in fact P. terebinthus.

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Post by MWP admin » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:24 am

Better, so I dont have to add anything else to info above :-) I assume the keys are ok than.
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Post by Sdravko » Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:01 pm

in theory you key is good, but unfortunately the leaves, especially in S. terebinthifolius are very variable, i checked my own photographs. so i ended up recognizing them by habitus, sth which is not easy to explain. you should add p. atlantica to your key but i can not help you on the features since i never found a good key for that. p vera is very rare in Malta but since everybody visits buskett you could add it.
to finish the discussion, not only us on the forum but even some of the best Maltese botanists do doubleckeck certain specimens in that group (highly important for conservation reasons).

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